By ADAM KANKIEWICZ February 5, 2014
The PV Power Map is a report of national solar resource availability as illustrated by the monthly energy output of a nominal 1-kilowattPV Generation Potential for September 2013 (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system by location. The monthly variance in PV energy production due to extreme drought and precipitation conditions is highlighted during September.
Above-average PV energy production continued to prevail across the Southwest during September as drought conditions continued to worsen in the region. Farther north, PV energy production was well below average in Washington and Oregon, as both states experienced their wettest September on record.
Sharp gradients in PV energy production can be observed in the Four Corners region due to enhanced monsoon conditions. Northern Colorado also saw significant reduction in PV energy production due to the record monsoon-associated rains and flooding in September.
Drier-than-average conditions also led to above-average PV production over a wide region of the Eastern Seaboard, while below-average production was observed over southeastern Texas and southern Florida due to moderate to heavy rainfall.
The PV Power Map can be used by anyone to quickly gauge the generation potential of a new PV system, or benchmark the performance of an installed system, in a given location. Simply multiply the power output indicated on the map by a project’s capacity, in kilowatts, to calculate the total estimated power output for the month.
For example, a 4-kW PV system in Newark, N.J., would have produced approximately 500 kilowatt-hours during July (125 kWh x 4 kW = 508 kWh). A 4-kW system in Houston would have produced approximately 440 kWh during August (110 kWh x 4 kW = 440 kWh).
To gain an understanding of the production of a particular system over a period of time, you can view PV Power Maps from 2013 at solartoday.org/pvpowermap.
The PV Power Map is created with power output estimates generated by SolarAnywhere services from Clean Power Research; these include simulation capabilities and hourly satellite-derived irradiance data with spatial resolutions from 1 to 10 kilometers. The calculations are based on a PV system with a total 1-kW nameplate rating that is configured as five 200-watt PV panels with a 1.5-kW inverter; fixed, south-facing panels with 30 degree tilt; no shading; panel PVUSA Test Conditions rating of 178 watts; and inverter efficiency of 95.5 percent. Visualization and mapping provided by GeoModel Solar. Access free historical irradiance data at solaranywhere.com.
Adam Kankiewicz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a research specialist at Clean Power Research.